U.K. health officials have advised pregnant women “to postpone non-essential travel” to Vietnam to avoid contracting the Zika virus.
According to a travel warning, U.K. health authorities have classified Vietnam as "having a risk of Zika virus transmission," asking its citizens to be cautious while traveling to the country.
Ho Chi Minh City has become Vietnam’s Zika hotspot with a total number of 83 infections in 17 districts, including nine pregnant women.
Nguyen Tri Dung, head of the city’s preventive health department, confirmed a fast-growing outbreak, warning that the virus may spread to other districts and that approximately 80 percent of people infected with the virus do not show symptoms.
The health ministry has requested local health officials to intensify measures against the spread of the virus and closely monitor new cases.
Zika is transmitted to humans via the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, also the main carrier of dengue fever which has been long present in the country, particularly in the southern provinces.
Although the Zika virus is not usually life-threatening, it has been linked to increased rates of small head syndrome microcephaly in babies born to infected mothers.
Last month, Vietnam's health ministry reported a microcephaly case that is likely to be the country's first linked to the mosquito-borne virus.